One of the most important features of iCloud is the ability to sync, back up, and restore.
Over the years, Apple has added more and more layers onto the iCloud service. It integrates with iMessage, makes photos more accessible than ever with iCloud Photo Library, and even lets us share purchases with loved ones via Family Sharing. However, for the mass majority of people out there, its the convenience of being able to get a new device and instantly have access to all our apps, calendars, contacts, and media in a few taps that makes iCloud stand out from other services. Like magic, everything is exactly as we left it on our old iPhone or iPad.
If you're just setting up your first iPhone or iPad with iCloud, we can walk you through everything you need to know. And if you're a seasoned pro, pass this guide along to your friends and family members who could use some help understanding the basics of syncing, restoring, and backing up with iCloud!
- How to set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as new
- How to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from an iCloud backup
- What iCloud storage plan should you get?
- How to turn on iCloud backup on iPhone and iPad
- How to manually trigger an iCloud backup
- How to manually manage what backs up to iCloud
- How to delete old iCloud backups on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
- How to sync calendars, contacts, photos, and more to iCloud
- How to wipe all your personal information off an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
How to set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as new
If you just got your hands on a brand new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and you've never owned one before, you'll want to set it up as new. You'll be asked during the process if you'd like to set up a new iCloud, or Apple ID, and we highly suggest you do. This is what you'll use to get started with your new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. While the process is simple and straight forward, we can walk you through if you need some help!
How to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from an iCloud backup
If you've got a brand new device, or you had to restore yours for some reason, perhaps a technical issue, you'll most likely want to bring down your iCloud backup. So this time, instead of setting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch up as new, you'll want to select the restore from backup option during your initial setup. If you aren't exactly sure where that option is and you want to make sure you don't miss it, follow our guide for step by step instructions!
What iCloud storage plan should you get?
iCloud can store a lot more than just your backups if you want it to. You can use iCloud Photo Library to store all your photos and free up precious device storage if you want. You also may need to upgrade your storage plan if you have multiple iOS devices connected to one account and you find your backups becoming too large. If you aren't sure what iCloud storage plan is right for you, we can help you decide!
How to enable iCloud backup on iPhone and iPad
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that you're actively using but you've never set up iCloud backups before, you can easily enable them within the Settings app. You just have to know where to look. Once enabled, iCloud will back up your device at least once every 24 hours or so as long as you are plugged in and connected to WiFi. For most of us, this will happen at night while you're sleeping and your device is charging.
If you aren't sure where to look in order to enable iCloud backups for the first time, we can walk you through.
How to manually trigger an iCloud backup
If you're switching devices or have to wipe your existing device for some reason, it's a very good idea to create an iCloud backup beforehand. While iCloud backs up on its own every 24 hours or so, you may have received texts, iMessages, or even taken some new photos since that last backup. Triggering one manually will ensure that your backup is the most current and contains everything on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch before wiping it.
How to manage your iCloud backups
Apple gives you a few options when it comes to managing your iCloud backups. First, you can pick and choose what you actually want to be saved in your iCloud backups. That means you can decide not to backup photos or certain types of data in certain apps. If you want to preserve iCloud storage, this isn't a bad idea. You can also delete old iCloud backups out of your account, which is a great way to free up some extra storage if you're running low. If you aren't sure how to do either of these things, check out our guides for a little extra help.
How to sync calendars, contacts, photos, and more with iCloud
Just like you can pick and choose what kinds of things get backed up to iCloud, you can also pick and choose what data gets synced to iCloud too. This includes things such as your calendars, contacts, photos, bookmarks, and much more. These are all synced live, which means if you add a new contact on your iPad, it should automatically be there on your iPhone, on the web, and on any Mac you have linked to your iCloud account. The same goes for many other kinds of data that iCloud offers live syncing for. If you don't like all of what iCloud syncing has to offer, you can choose what services to enable, and what to leave off. If you have a shared device in your home, these settings are ones you'll definitely want to look over.
How to wipe all your personal data off an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
If you ever decide its time to upgrade or get rid of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you'll want to make sure you clear all your personal data off of it, including your iCloud account. If you aren't quite sure how to go about making sure your data is completely removed, we can walk you through from beginning to end. You'll definitely want to complete this process before selling or handing a device down to someone else.
More help with iCloud
If you need even more help with iCloud, make sure to check out all our guides below. You can also check out our iCloud forums where you can ask questions and get answers from us and other super smart iMore readers!
- How to set up, sync, backup, and restore with iCloud: The ultimate guide
- How to use iCloud Photo Sharing and Photo Stream: The ultimate guide
- How to use iTunes Match: The ultimate guide
- How to use iTunes in the Cloud: The ultimate guide
- How to use Find My iPhone: The ultimate guide
- How to use iCloud Drive: The ultimate guide
- How to use Family Sharing: The ultimate guide
- How to use iCloud Keychain: The ultimate guide